This year Bryce Healy made history as the first ever apprentice to take part in the international internship program in collaboration with master Plumbers and Cooke & Dowsett, where he is a second year apprentice. this career-changing working holiday took Bryce to the stunning city of Copenhagen, where he learned the tricks of the trade Scandinavian-style, working for Finn l & Davidsen plumbers on a range of domestic projects. we caught up with Bryce fresh back from his big trip and talked solo travel, push fit PVC and cooking for one miles away from home.
How did you feel when you found out you had landed the internship?
A 50/50 mix between excitement and nerves! Honestly, I was quite hesitant when I found out I had been successful. I’ve not really done much travelling at all – and up until then, I’d never been on a solo trip. It was pretty daunting to get on the plane by myself. But I just thought, well I’ve got to do this. I really didn’t know what to expect when I was over there. But when I got there, it was surprisingly easy to settle in. And when it was time to go home, I didn’t want to leave.
Talk us through a regular day in your internship
My colleague would usually pick me up from the hostel around 6am and we would go to the plumbing store – over there; AO was the equivalent of Reece. We’d get tools for the day and then go to the job site. They do a lot of apartments over there – plenty of central heating system refurbs because it is so cold and the majority of the buildings are so old. After a day starting on the tools at 7am we would usually finish around 2.30pm.
Did you notice any major differences there as distinct from how we do things over here? Any surprises?
Yeah a few things actually. They rarely glue their PVC, instead they use push fit. They also use stainless steel more than copper and cast iron for their waste drains. Working on older style buildings, I guess you need to use different materials.
How did you cope with the language barrier and cultural differences?
I’m not going to lie, as a language, Danish is really hard to pronounce and I didn’t pick up much. My colleagues’ English was pretty good though, so on the whole they could understand me well. Somehow we managed to get by both on site and socially. I really enjoyed the food as well, but I’m not much of a cook so ended up buying three meals out every day!
What did you take away from the experience as a whole?
It really was a learning curve for me that broadened my horizons both culturally and vocationally. It also taught me that experience of any type is invaluable in life.
Because of this internship, I have new transferable career and life skills. As a person I am more confident and my people skills are better. But really, how could you not gain more confidence when you drop yourself in at the deep end?
What advice would you give to people wanting to do the International Internship?
Honestly, it was one of the best things I’ve done in my life. I’d tell anyone with a passion for life, plumbing and travel to go for it. It will open so many doors for you.
What’s your plan for 2017? How can you top your internship?
In terms of recruitment I’m happy to stay put with Cooke & Dowsett, they really are a great company. But I would love to travel more, I’ve definitely been bitten by the bug. I spoke to one of the bosses in Denmark who said if ever you want to travel you can do 6 months with us – so who knows...
Know someone who could be the next big thing?
Master Plumbers will be releasing details of next year’s exciting global internship opportunity for 2017 very soon. know someone who’s got what it takes? Register your interest via Master Plumbers and spread the word.